When you think of Everton’s best bargain buys, Seamus Coleman invariably features at the top of the list.
The full-back joined the Toffees for a reported fee of just £63k, and has gone on to be a permanent fixture in the first-team squad for a number of years now.
But whilst the Irishman can stake a major claim for being one of the club’s most astute purchases in recent memory, one man who may have gone slightly under the radar, is Steven Naismith.
The forward was signed by David Moyes back in the summer of 2012 on a free transfer after he rejected a contract with his former side Rangers.
It was no surprise that the then Everton manager waxed lyrical about what Naismith could bring to the table when the deal was confirmed. He said: “He will be an excellent addition to the players we already have and we look forward to him being fit and ready to play at the start of the season. He is an established international who can play in a number of positions. He has a flexibility we always like in our players and which will hopefully prove to be very useful for us.”
In the end, the Scot proved himself to be an unsung hero at Goodison Park, playing 123 appearances across all competitions. He scored 26 goals in his time on the blue half of Merseyside, and was often the man for the big occasion.
Out of all the times he found the back of the net in a Toffees shirt, 11 of them came against the Premier League’s ‘big six’. In fact, since the start of the 2010/2011 season, no other player had scored more against those sides than Naismith himself, with his closest challengers being Romelu Lukaku (10) and Kevin Mirallas (8).
Every team needs someone who can deliver the business in the toughest of times, and Naismith was that man. For someone who Moyes signed for nothing, the attacker was nothing short of a revelation when you consider the value for money they got for him.
Coleman may be thought of as Everton’s best bargain buy, but Naismith is arguably in that same bracket too.